31 December 2012

Letting it All Hang Out: Frank Parenting with The Nomad Mom

family portrait
photo c/o Anthony Milkus
As soon as I sat down (local time: 6:32 AM) to write this, goblin noises began drifting down the stairs. I quickly took an inventory of the possible sources:

1. kid (Mind you, this would be about TWO HOURS earlier than normal.)
2. radiator (Shit gets pretty wild in the process of heating an almost 120-year old house.)
3. mister (He has a pretty intense new mustache, and I'm not yet sure what the correlation between snoring and a furry lip is.)

08 November 2012

Minds Bright, Minds Shiny: Shenandoah Davis

photo credit: Hayley Young
It's pretty incredible to me that I am connected to so many inspiring folks all over the globe. Some of them I've known since childhood, others I connected to in class or at a job, and there are a random few that I met by pure chance. Social networking has its annoyances, sure. But it also allows me access to the boundless creativity output by brilliant minds. Such content is especially compelling when it's produced by someone you've had the golden opportunity to cross paths with.

Friends, meet Shenandoah Davis, whose intellect is matched only by her artistry. She's an old pal and living on the other side of the world, calling Seattle home. I know you have a spare five minutes and thirty seconds (exactly!) sitting around unused in your day, somewhere. Use them wisely (see below).

07 November 2012

Overdue Sunday Snippets

I give much credit to any blogger who produces consistent, quality, proofread material, but I cast a fair bit of doubt as to said blogger's humanness if she's pregnant and/or with a new baby. Seriously. You who fall into this category are humanoid cylons, right? Totes sorry for outing you.

26 October 2012

Die, Blonde, Dye

red hair
I've been resurrected from the blogging dead... as a roodharige. Ever since seeing Run Lola Run for the first time about eight years ago, I've secretly wanted blazing red hair. I've been feeling increasingly apathetic about my style as my belly grows bigger and bigger (and bigger and bigger); this change was exactly what I needed.

With the mister coming home the next morning and autumn nipping through my coat, I dropped the kid at a friend's around the corner yesterday (thanks, Kate!) and, at a cheapo neighborhood salon, made the plunge. Into a figurative vat of red dye. 

Happy metamorphosis, chrysiles!


25 October 2012


Here are some quiet shots from the last few days, in which I've been socially kind of hungover and in need of some fresh air and solitude.

Before the last few months, I couldn't have realized what a swell little compadre this child would become, and how perfectly he would fit into moments like these; even in the photos in which Julian doesn't appear, he's almost always still there, slightly out of the frame.

20 October 2012

Homespun Necessities: Apple Cider

Apple Picking
This post is a mathematical breakdown of abundance. Follow closely.

{Autumn is synonymous for radiantly red maples and steaming mugs of apple cider, at least where I come from. Since Moeder Nature does a damn fine job on her own with the former, and I haven't found the cider of my dreams in Holland, I'm focusing on the latter. [I've tasted everything even sort of resembling the cloudy, brown-tinged drink. None of them is just right.] I want Christmas in a cup, spiced and warm.}

11 October 2012

Dreaming of Vastness, Part II: Mongolia

photo credit: Carlos Barria
I've always felt a magnetic draw towards Mongolia that I can't exactly articulate; perhaps it's because much of the culture revolves around peaceful existence and horses, or that the permanently populated areas are connected by a sparse network of questionable roads and endless stretches of steppe, desert, mountain, and forest.

It's my heartland, my spirit animal, the place I go to in my mind after a dark day.

10 October 2012

Dreaming of Vastness, Part I: Iceland

Earlier today, I discovered Andrew and Carissa Gallo, over on Wolf Eyebrows, who dredged me up out of my travel-fatigued state. Apparently, my predicament was mutable. All day since, I've been fantasizing about sweeping openness and waking up to sounds from non-human sources. Iceland has had a firm clutch on my daydreams for some time now, and seeing it recorded so exquisitely has ratified my desire to go.

07 October 2012

Sunday Snippets: the week, in retrospect

red beets


This afternoon the kid and I met a friend and her little clan at our favorite neighborhood park to cheer up after putting the mister on a plane this morning, and we happened upon two other friends and their broods. It's nice knowing benevolence firsthand. 

There's little Julian loves more than the opportunity to climb on things and get some serious dirt under his fingernails, and there's little I love more than watching a certain little boy toddle around in a state of busy contentedness. We adults have much to glean from our smaller counterparts.

Happy exploring, adventurers. 


05 October 2012

Persisting Oven Woes; Thus, Pumpkin Ice Cream

pumpkin ice cream
The pompoenen at the market have been exceptionally beautiful the last couple weeks. Normally, I'd buy a few without hesitating and preheat my oven. 

This time of year, I dream of all things pumpkiny and baked. Unfortunately, I'm going on week five of having a defunct oven (culprit=a really slow-shipping part); I was sort of clueless in a hands-up sort of way about why else I could possibly need a pumpkin. Until I stopped sulking and started thinking. Duh. Ice cream. And to whom would I turn in such a time of desperation? David Lebovitz, that's who. Err, whom. 

04 October 2012

Homespun Necessities: Butter

homemade butter
I always imagined that making butter involved a contraption large, creaking, and wooden, and a serious arm workout. Churning butter sounds so serious, and like it requires bonnet-wearing. So, as official research (yes, let's call it that) for my newly conceived series on creating kitchen basics by hand, I googled "how to make butter." What I found, friends, blew my tiny little brain. Into tiny little pieces.

30 September 2012

Meesterlijk 2012

homemade ravioli
Yesterday the mister and I booked our sitter for seven hours and hopped on the train to Amsterdam for Meesterlijk, an annual design/food/craft/fashion festival. Situated in the Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek, it was an ideal excuse to get out for a heathy dose of sunshine, lekker eten, and inspiration.

Sunday Snippets: the week, in retrospect

27 September 2012

(German) Chocolade (Cake) Therapie

German Chocolate Cake
To say I've been feeling a little ill the last few days is a vast understatement. Even my favorite foods have been about as appealing as a pile of wood shavings... or dog vomit, depending on the day.

Apparently, though, chocolate heals all. Last night, I crawled to bed with a cup of fennel tea, unable to believe I'd ever see another day. This morning, I pulled on my rain boots and splashed over to a friend's house to help her with a German chocolate she was making for her birthday celebration in the afternoon. Within minutes of arriving and getting elbow-deep in chocolate, I was cured.

24 September 2012

Brighter Choices

Last Thursday, I shared with you a friend's decorating (or, rather, dyeing) conundrum. After some thought, she was liking the Pebble Beige and the Terracotta Brown best (which were also the two favorites picked out by YOU on various social platforms) but was curious as to how the sofa would look with the rest of the original cream (on the base and arms) nixed.

22 September 2012

DIY: Blackboard Table + Two-Toned Chalk

I've been wanting to make a blackboard and fun-shaped chalk for a while, both for myself to scrawl my endless lists and brainstorming on, and also for the kid to try out. Apparently, it's a bit too early in his development for crayons, or he has a refined taste for tinted wax. Either way, I hypothesized that chalk might be a friendlier medium for little hands (read=I just want a blackboard but feel funny saying it without blaming my child).

21 September 2012

Being Adult, and Fresh Mint Chip Frozen Yogurt

My oven is still gebroken; but instead of despairing and being tempted into another adult temper tantrum, I've chosen to go the soup and ice cream route, or any other culinary path that leads me away from the oven (and subsequently subjecting it to acts of physical violence).

20 September 2012

Bright Choices

Last week, I picked up a giant cardboard box, i.e. a toddler apartment, at another Den Haag mama's house; soon into our chat she revealed that she'd begun to dye her sofa cushions but hit a wall of indecision after tinging the rear cushions a cheery pink. I offered a couple suggestions but felt equally indeterminate. Sitting at home later and feeling grateful for the gifted box, I made her an offer: I'd digitally try out some different color options so she'd have an easier time deciding. 

19 September 2012

Homespun Necessities: Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

hot chocolate
I have a deeply woven desire to know what's in my food, and to make conscious decisions about what I consume. Mass-produced foods have one main purpose: shelf life. And in many parts of the world, kids grow up on products that are 1. made to last in a package, and 2. can be so easily replicated in a more wholesome manner if product longevity is no longer an issue. 

18 September 2012


baby photography
Our little bunny, always growing, growing, growing. Sometimes I am speechless in wonder at this magnificent little boy who blossomed from a baby. This was one of those days.

17 September 2012

Letting Go of the Reins, via Bokeh

One of my favorite regular reads is the ever-talented Sandi Devenny's blog, AdaLou. Being a bit inexperienced with my camera's full functionality, I find her Point & Click series (tutorial guest posts by the lovely Anna Zimmerman) informative, simple, and fun. Her most recent series post on bokeh photography was especially uncomplicated and meditative; it was nice to veer off the path of in-focus, to let go a bit.

16 September 2012

Sunday Snippets: the week, in retrospect

My faithful and weekly series, Sunday Snippets, has been defunct for three months. I was so exhausted by our travels and by recent developments (pun intended) that some days, I didn't even touch my camera, which automatically derailed Sunday Snippets; it relies on me taking a photo of something, anything, every single day. 

Once I got out of the habit of uncapping my lens daily, it was difficult to automatically do. Until this week, for some reason. Normally the fun of this series is that there's no text, only one image from each day. 

Thus, I'll shut up now.

red fox

15 September 2012

You Say "Tomato", I Say "Pour Me a Bowl."

Bail Tomato Soup
Den Haag is sidling up next to soup season. And there's nothing more I love for a lazy weekend lunch than grilled cheese served next to a steaming bowl of tomato soup. The real kind, not the stuff from a can.

14 September 2012

A Family Affair

Sunday was, indeed, Sun Day. It was genuinely hot (so unusual for Holland), and barely a cloud sailed the sky. I spent the afternoon with a friend and her beautiful little family, capturing them on virtual film.

13 September 2012

Our Drie Honden

I've mentioned our dogs every once in a while, that we have three, that we moved them overseas with us, that they're good-humored about being terrorized by an growingly active toddler. But what I haven't told you is that I love these dogs with my whole heart, even if I now have to share that heart a bit more. That before we had a child, they were my complete universe. That I worked at a doggie daycare and dog food store throughout college to feed them the best food possible and ridiculously spoil them on a student budget. That I was terrified to have children because I thought none of them would tolerate pinching fingers, pattering feet, or sharing. Specifically, sharing the two people they'd known as their own for a very long time.

That, if this scenario unfolded, I'd choose the dogs over any kid.

12 September 2012

Parmesan, Celery, and Chickpea Salad

Parmesan Celery Salad
I just realized that, from my posts, it looks like my diet is almost entirely comprised of sweets. Funny! The truth is, I'm enamored with fresh, healthful ingredients and love creatively composed salads (see Exhibit A and B). I just get really excited about making and photographing desserts because they're exquisite, a bit vulgar in their decadence, and fun to share with a crowd. But although they get less public attention, salads brimming with texture, color, and flavor are regular and welcome guests in our home.

11 September 2012

Urban Fauna

Being able to scratch a well-cared for cow, pig, goat, sheep, or pony every once in a while is essential to a kid's (and my) wellbeing; you can imagine my joy at being introduced yesterday to yet another city farm to do just that. I got in some adult conversation with a dear friend, and our newly-christened toddlers waddled around and made negotiations we can only guess at.

10 September 2012

An ambulatory education: Seven things I wish I'd known before traveling the world with a child

ein: Humor is universal, even when there exists an absolute language barrier. Be surprised at it, roll its sweetness around on your tongue, then pass it on.

deux: In every locale, there has been at least one kind stranger who opens a door, helps lift a stroller, offers to give up a seat on the bus, or entertains my wailing child with a silly face. It doesn't happen every time I need it but definitely more often than I expect it to.

tre: People in all the places we've been raise their children with diapers, formula, baby food, and other basic necessities, which makes forgetting a staple less upsetting, more fixable. 

neljä: Even if you're pregnant and/or nauseated, or the pickiest eater in town, don't let the local cuisine stop you from going somewhere. Get to a supermarket; most people in the world eat crackers, dried fruit, or whatever else is on your not-so-big "consumables" list. I'm a huge supporter of eating locally when in a new place, but some situations just call for crackers and seltzer water.

09 September 2012

Notebook of Revelation

So, there it is. The reason I've avoided outfit posts. In case you've never had your own, until a bump is truly a bump, it just looks like one's had the cookie jar perpetually full and the lid permanently propped open.

Our three will become four sometime around February fifth, which we couldn't be more pleased about.

07 September 2012


For a while, I've been painfully aware that my blog needed a makeover. When I first set it up, I had no idea what I was doing. I still don't. But I have a handle on the lingo, and a clearer idea of what appeals to me aesthetically. It was kind of one of those in the near future kind of updates; I definitely wasn't planning on redesigning the blog tonight. But it sort of happened, and I'm purdy darn happy with the result (except for the fact that Blogger won't let me change this annoying curly text on the main page and in posts... don't worry; it will go away soon.).

Hate it? Love it? Sort of eh about it? I'm open to suggestions, or shameless praise. But first, I'm off to bed. See you in de morgen!


06 September 2012

Dip-Dyed Smoothies

We're big time smoothie people; they're a quick way to cram in a lot of nutrients early on in the day without any gagging or taste-sacrificing. Here were our particularly pretty ones from this past weekend: strawberry-mango-banana, with added boosts from spinach (vitamin A, C, and iron), nonfat Greek yogurt (protein) and chia seeds (fiber, and more omega-3s than salmon). Yields two generously-sized smoothies (recipe below). 


05 September 2012

Den Haag Goes Handcrafted (Volume II), and Warfare against Disappointment

On Sunday, we meandered over a few blocks to the Home Made Market. I had solid intentions to do what I did last time: take photos, peruse the vendors' offerings at a leisurely pace, network a bit, and nosh on cakes. (Do you feel the impending however?)

04 September 2012

Oven Malfunction, and A Foray Into Microwave Cuisine

 bake |bāk|verb [ with obj. ]
1. cook (food) by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven or on a hot surface. (thanks, Apple dictionary.)

So, microwaving counts as baking? Ok, great.

01 September 2012

An Antiquated Mosey, Hello, and Farewell

Last Saturday our friends arrived as house guests at our home, on the tail end of their 111-day, 15,000-mile (or 24,000-km) road trip in an RV that took them through two engines and 33 countries. They came back with some hilarious stories, found themselves in more than a couple predicaments (thankfully, all solve-able), and were understandably excited to get back to their kitties and to normalcy.

31 August 2012

On Swearing

In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer. -Mark Twain

After musing with mum-friends over cake and lemon bars about kids and profanity, I had a thoughtful internal discussion with myself on the topic. I'm not yet a big parenting book reader, bypass trending parenting fads, and have let myself be mostly led by instinct. I don't often just sit and think about parenting theory unless we have an immediate issue to consider. My deep respect and insatiable appetite for language, though, got me seriously contemplating how I'd like to eventually talk to my kids about, well, talking.

30 August 2012

Afternoon Hilarity, on Tape

I share about one baby video with the world every four and a half months, which makes it okay sometimes. Right? Last time, it was bubbles. This time, animal control. I caught the kid attempting to capture two of our dogs in a shopping bag while I was putting away groceries.

28 August 2012

A Case of the Baltics, v1.3

Although it's convenient to speak of our June travels collectively as a Baltic road trip, I hesitate in doing so for two reasons. We only toured two of the three Baltic countries (Lithuania and Latvia), touching down only briefly in Estonia to change planes. It's disappointing in the same way that having Ventnor and Atlantic in your pile and never rolling the number you need for Marvin Gardens is.

25 August 2012

Supply and Demand

Sometimes, all a girl needs is a new bike saddle and cork grips. Well, and a warm bed, several shades of lipstick, the world's darlingest baby, a kind husband, a suitable camera, a book to read, incredible friends with contagiously distinctive laughs, and a working oven. And a weekend ahead of her. If that's all, then I've got it. 

24 August 2012

Summer, Squared: A Recipe

raspberry lemon bars
I really need to start expanding my baking inspirations; my obsession with Smitten Kitchen recipes is verging on stalking. I've been feeling like this for a little while. However, this gem of a recipe popped up a few weeks ago, and I needed it. Now.

More importantly, I needed to share the beauty of lemon bars with my non-American friends here; I had a feeling this was a strictly US of A thing. And damn diggity was I right.

21 August 2012

Creature Comforts: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

pumpkin cream cheese bread
Sometimes the body craves the food it was raised on. In the autumn and at Christmas, that meant pumpkin bread with a luscious ribbon of cream cheese running through the center. It's not autumn or Christmas yet, but I had a butternut squash sitting on the counter; all I could see when I looked at it was a loaf of that bread. 


Yesterday, I relished in the simplicity of routine. The feel of clean laundry folding under my hands. A sunshiny cycle to the supermarket. Scratching the little dog with both hands on the scruff of the neck, watching her eyes half-close in bliss. Fresh produce adorning my kitchen. A stroll with the baby bird to the neighborhood park. Reading books together with hot skin pressed against the cool tile floor. 

20 August 2012

The Appenzell of my Itinerary's Eye

The dramatic rise and fall of Swiss high country is breathtaking, but my happy place was cow country, in the far northeast. We stayed in Appenzell, which was a bit touristy but right in the middle of where we wanted to be.

Tavi Gevinson, Aesthetics Muse and Beehive Extraordinaire

tavi gevinson
If you follow Aesthetic Fauna on facebook, you already know that I'm a little obsessed with Tavi Gevinson, master of all things retro, classy, dreamy, and creative. Her writing and photos are incredible, in both their styling and their content, and her style is impeccably out of this era.

If I had some sort of award to give, I'd do so now. Seriously, this girl is talented. Like in an unparalleled way. And wise beyond her years.